Ireland's National Asset Management Agency looks to recoup $92 million on failed Chicago Spire
Huge hole in the ground symbolizes wasted cash and thwarted ambitions and faded Celtic Tiger
Ireland's National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) the agency created by the Irish government to address the serious problems which arose in Ireland’s banking sector, has reportedly hired the Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. to seek buyers for the $93 million debt on the failed Chicago Spire development.
Three years after now-defunct Anglo Irish Bank Corporation filed a $77 million foreclosure suit on the site, where Irish developer Garrett Kelleher had planned to build a 150-story condominium tower, NAMA has hired a broker to sell the high-profile site.
According to Chicago Real Estate Daily, the deep hole along the famed Lake Shore Drive and the Chicago River has sat untouched for five years.
It had all begun so well. Plans for the Spire called for a 2,000-foot skyscraper, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, with nearly 1,200 units, including a penthouse listed for $40 million. The corkscrew-shaped high-rise was designed by architect Santiago Calatrava.
But Kelleher, who bought the land near Lake Michigan for $64 million in 2006, only had a large hole dug when the real estate market soured and construction halted in 2008.
Now NAMA, which has assumed the debt from Anglo Irish, is seeking to recoup as much value as it can from the loan. Any interested buyer of the debt, perhaps to build condos, apartments or both on the 2.2-acre site, would need to settle the foreclosure case before beginning work on what could be a multi-tower project built in phases.
The bank note has reportedly grown to about $92.8 million, including taxes, penalties, interest and other fees. To date several residential and hotel developers have expressed interest in the site, but none offered a deal before NAMA hired Jones Lang.
According to Chicago Real Estate Daily it's a premier location for residential development. The market for apartments in the city is reportedly much stronger, but a multi-family developer that buys the site would be a latecomer to a construction boom that has some observers concerned about a potential glut.
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